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Fanfic / I Hope You Have Unlimited Text Messaging

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I Hope You Have Unlimited Text Messaging by MissCar is a Marvel Cinematic Universe fic set after Captain America: Civil War. It is also posted on FanFiction.Net.

Summary: Post Captain America Civil War fix-it: For the first time in their entire acquaintance, Tony and Steve start having really honest conversations with each other via text message, of course.

Or Tony and Steve try to repair their relationship before the next apocalypse. This may take a while. Actually, battling blue and/or purple aliens would be preferable to working through their feelings.

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Tropes:

  • Age-Gap Algebra: The "half your age plus seven rule" is mentioned a couple of times in regards to Tony and Pepper's respective relationships. Steve's chronological and biological ages kind of muck things up a bit for him, but he still passes in the end.
  • Amicable Exes:
    • Steve with both his exes, Sharon Carter and Melinda May. Part of it is because neither of those were serious relationships to begin with, and the other part is because he's Steve.
    • Tony and Pepper, however, are much more complicated case, as their relationship was serious and lasted several years. That being said, they still deeply care for one another, and make peace with each other later on in the story — after a lot of therapy and talking.
  • Assassination Attempt:
    • Howard Stark endured ten of these by HYDRA after the end of World War II, the first one being before Tony was even born and the last one being the successful attempt by the Winter Solider. Both Ana Jarvis and Tony's mother Maria ended up being casualties of these attempts.
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    • Tony endures at least two of these over the course of the story, proving himself to be his father's son in that aspect, unfortunately. Only difference is that each one was instigated by different parties.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: As it turns out, Howard sending Tony to boarding school was so the latter wouldn't be caught up in one of the many assassination attempts on Howard's life. Tony, rather understandably, is conflicted; while some part of him is happy to have more proof that his father genuinely did love him, the rest of him is still mad Howard wouldn't tell him that he loved him.
  • Awful Truth:
    • Steve grew up believing that his father died in World War I. When he first got out of the ice, S.H.I.E.L.D. gave him a dossier on all his associates — which is how Steve learned he had a seventy-eight year old younger half-sister living in Nevada. His father, meanwhile, did not die in World War I; he actually died in the 50s, shanked by his fellow inmates in prison after they learned he liked to hit his second wife and daughter. This is what led to Steve killing his first punching bag.
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    • Tony learns a similarly heartbreaking truth thanks to Steve's suspicion: his aunt Ana Jarvis did not die via a lightbulb replacement attempt gone wrong. Instead, she got stuck in the crossfire of an assassination attempt on Howard Stark, who himself only survived due to an experimental bulletproof vest.
    • Stemming from that, Tony also learns that this was the third of the ten assassination attempts made on Howard throughout his life, with the last (successful) attempt being the Winter Soldier. Considering this was happening when he was a kid and Tony is currently in his forties right now, he's understandably pissed to realize how long it took for him to learn about this, especially since it confirms that his dad was going to die by HYDRA's hands no matter what happened.
  • Beta Couple: Clint/Laura serves as this to Steve/Tony, contrasting their healthy relationship with the latter's remarkably unstable one. Of course, by the time Clint/Laura start having their own problems, Steve and Tony have more-or-less worked through their issues.
  • Bi the Way: Tony and Steve are both bisexual. Neither of them are each other's first relationships with men, either.
  • Broken Pedestal:
    • While Steve still has fond memories of him, he isn't happy with the kind of man Howard became after he went under the ice.
    • He was also extremely unhappy when he learned that Peggy was complicit in hiding Howard's assassination attempts. While he understands why they did it, it still doesn't make it okay.
  • Catharsis Factor:
    • In-Universe example. Part of Tony's therapy is writing vent letters. The first ones are to Bucky, and while those are pretty visceral in the beginning, they begin to calm down as he and Steve patch up their relationship. His letters to Howard and Peggy are far worse, because unlike Bucky, they were fully culpable in their actions and are now dead so he has no chance of reconciling with them.
    • This is actually an issue when he has to write an actual letter to Happy, after Happy's actions in Homecoming. Tony has to actually has to wait a couple of days to calm down before writing it because he keeps on treating like another vent letter.
  • Celebrity Paradox: Parodied. After Tony reveals his boyfriend "Stefan Carter" (a bearded Steve with a haircut) to the world, people start speculating he might actually be dating Chris Evans — who, incidentally, will be playing Steve in the upcoming Captain America movies. The actual Chris Evans finds this hilarious (and is implied to have figured out that "Stefan" is really Steve in disguise).
  • The Confidant: The basis of Tony and Steve's reconciliation and romance is that they serve this as each other. That being said, Tony is the one who does most of the venting because Steve can't tell him too much about what he's currently doing due to Plausible Deniability concerns.
  • Cassandra Truth: The Stony shippers of Freaking Cool (an In-Universe Fan Fiction site) claim that Tony's new boyfriend Stefan Carter is actually a disguised Steve Rogers. They're right, but no one believes them because they'd rather believe that Steve was a HYDRA spy than gay.
  • Determinator: HYDRA made ten attempts to assassinate Howard Stark, the last one being the Winter Soldier. Tony and Steve bitterly recognize that with the resources at their disposal, Howard was probably going to die at their hands no matter what happened.
  • Everyone Can See It: About twenty conversations in, everyone who's in the know have realized that Tony and Steve are dating via text message without actually realizing themselves that they are dating. Ten conversations after that, they are annoyed to learn that not only were they the last ones to figure it out, but that said friends had even started making bets about when they would figure it out.
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • Tony is incensed when he learns that SHIELD elected to tell Steve about his seventy-eight year old half-sister that he never knew existed via dossier, instead of telling him in person and easing him into it.
    • Likewise, Steve, while understanding, is not happy to learn that Tony's parents sent him off to boarding school without telling him why. After all, it's one thing to hide from your adult friend/love interest that their long-dead parents were murdered by terrorists, especially when you learned about the information during a crisis. It's another to send them off to boarding school three months after the death of their Honorary Aunt without telling them that someone was making repeated attempts to murder their father, that said Honorary Aunt was a casualty of one of these attempts, and that they're terrified of him being a casualty of another. He's also not happy to learn that Peggy was complicit in this.
  • Friend to All Children: For all his faults, Tony is surprisingly very good with kids. Enough so that Laura designated him as temporary guardian of the Barton children if anything were to happen to her. Granted, part of that is due to the fact that all the other possible guardians are either fugitives or legally dead, but the fact that he's on the list at all is still very noticeable. There's also his canon relationship with Peter.
  • Friends with Benefits: Steve and Melinda May (or Melinda Garner, as she was known then).
  • Honorary Uncle: Tony becomes this to the Barton kids while protecting them and Laura from the backlash of the Accords. It goes a long way in mending his friendship with Clint after the latter is finally allowed to return home.
  • Insecure Love Interest: Throughout the story, Happy tries to push Tony and Pepper back together even though both of have more-or-less moved on. After he goes too far, Natasha gets involved and reveals the reason he's trying so hard to get them back together is because he himself is in love with Pepper and is trying to live vicariously through Tony because he doesn't think he's good enough for her.
  • Irony: The basis of the fic is Steve and Tony trying to work through their many, many problems via text messaging. Towards the end of the story, their relationship is the second-most stable in the entire story (the first being Vision/Wanda, and only because they see each other in person more often), while everyone else in the story is trying to work through their own relationship problems.
  • Mrs. Robinson: Pepper's rebound relationship is with a hot, young executive who barely clears the "half your age plus seven" rule. Tony is unhappy with the situation, partly out of jealousy but mostly out of concern because he knows the relationship isn't going to end well. He's right. Mr. Rebound eventually dumps Pepper for one of the stars of the Hunger Games movie franchise.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Happy, tiffed about Tony choosing Steve over Pepper, disregards a previously-agreed upon plan to transfer weaponry from the tower to a more secure location, resulting in the deaths of two SHIELD agents and Peter having to go rogue so the situation doesn't go any more FUBAR than it already is. He also ignored a phone call from Ned Leeds that could've avoided all that. Tony, when he finds out, is simultaneously proud of Peter and furious with Happy, enough to demote him from his job as SI's Head of Security.
  • Oblivious to Love: Both Tony and Steve were (deliberately) oblivious to their growing feelings for each other, and this was before the Accords and Siberia. In Tony's case, his feelings for Steve was one of the driving forces in his breakup with Pepper.
  • On the Rebound:
    • Pepper, as seen in Mrs. Robinson above.
    • Subverted with Tony and Steve, who started dating unintentionally and had feelings for each other for several years that they either ignored or were oblivious to.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: A plot point. After Steve learned about his half-sister, he started thinking back to his childhood and saw the inconsistencies in his memories that he failed to realize were there. After learning about how Ana Jarvis died from Tony, and seeing a similar pattern, he realized that Tony was doing the same thing.
  • Open Secret:
    • While the public at large and most of the U.S. Government are unaware, most of SHIELD's top brass and those associated with the Avengers know that Tony and Steve are in regular contact with each other. A significant portion of those people are also know that they're dating.
    • According to Michelle Jones in the sequel, most of the public actually was aware that Tony's boyfriend "Stefan" was really Steve. Considering MJ is a notorious Conspiracy Theorist, however, this should be taken with a grain of salt.
  • Parents as People: While Tony was fully aware of the faults of his biological parents, he comes to learn that they (and his Aunt Peggy) had hid even more from him than he initially thought, which opens up a whole slew of more issues for him and his therapist to work through. Ironically, the main difficulty about this is learning that his parents really did love him and their Parental Neglect was because they wanted to protect him.
  • Poor Communication Kills:
    • Hence the premise of the fic; Tony and Steve want to get their working relationship in order before the next major apocalyptic situation comes.
    • This also comes up with Tony's relationship with his parents. The actual reason Tony went to boarding school was so he wouldn't become a casualty of the numerous assassination attempts on his father's life. The problem? None of the adults in his life bothered to actually tell him that. Even Steve admits that, with the situation that bad, they should've told him something. This left Tony with a lot of issues that he's still dealing with even now.
    • During the fic's adaptation of Spider-Man: Homecoming, Happy ignores a phone call from Ned Leeds due to his tiff with Tony. That action culminates in the movie's climax, which results in two SHIELD agents dead and Peter having to go rogue to fix the situation. Tony, understandably, is Not Happy.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Steve keeping the secret about the deaths of Tony's parents was largely unintentional, as Tony comes to realize long after he had forgiven Steve for it. Steve learned about the situation while in the middle of the crisis and dwelling on it wouldn't change the fact that Howard and Maria were dead. Tony himself wouldn't have had much of a reaction to it either aside from sharing Steve's burning hatred for HYDRA, as his parents have been dead for years and he's long-since moved on from their deaths. As it wasn't really going to change much in the long run, Steve just never got around to telling him since there were more important things going on.
    • Also, Steve legitimately did not know whether or not Bucky was responsible. HYDRA has more than one assassin after all. He suspected, but he didn't know for sure until Zemo showed the video to them in Siberia. This is even more justified when he and Tony learn about Howard's prior assassination attempts (nine in total), which were all perpetrated by HYDRA's other assassins. HYDRA didn't break out the Winter Soldier until they knew they couldn't leave Howard alive any longer — most likely because of the possibility of Howard recognizing him and breaking his programming.
    • Howard's own previous assassination attempts are a case of this. As a founder of S.H.I.E.L.D. and revolutionary inventor and industrialist, it was unlikely to begin with that the Winter Soldier was his first assassination attempt. In fact, it's more surprising that all the previous attempts were orchestrated by HYDRA and not other parties who had just as much reason to want Howard dead. Understandably, Tony can't even find it in himself to hate Bucky for his parents' deaths anymore because all this hammered in that Bucky really was only a weapon and means to an end for HYDRA.
    • Even though, intellectually, he understands why they hid it from him, Tony is still furious with his parents and Peggy for hiding the assassinations attempts on Howard from him — though he doesn't blame Jarvis, probably because Ana died as a result of those attempts, something Jarvis would understandably be reluctant to talk about. Steve is also unhappy to learn about them and the fact that they hid it from Tony, noting it makes what he hid from Tony look like peanuts in comparison.
    • The Sokovia Accords were conceived of and written when it was believed that the Avengers and a few select others were the only enhanced people on the planet. Thus, the sudden population explosion of Inhumans thanks to indirect exposure to the Terrigen Mists is something the Accords aren't prepared to deal with, and many are trying to take advantage of the situation to either exterminate enhanced humans or to weaponize them. This situation validates Steve's fear about the Accords being abused by those in positions of power, and a running subplot of the fic is Tony's attempts to fix the situation by trying to arrange for the Accords to be amended. This situation is also why, unlike canon, Tony outright refuses to have Peter reveal his identity, because, as a minor, it's still unclear whether the Accords should apply to him or not yet.
    • Despite being the Secretary of State, Thaddeus Ross does many things throughout the story that is not under his jurisdiction. This bites him in the ass many times.
      • Ross starts having his men stalk Laura Barton in hopes of fishing out the whereabouts of the rogue Avengers. As Tony and Steve both lampshade, there is no way in hell that is anywhere near the State Department's jurisdiction. Thus, when he finally does pick up (read: kidnap) Laura, Tony has his team of lawyers rip him and the DOS to pieces to get her back. When that doesn't work due to Ross' refusal to give in, SHIELD rescues her instead, and Ross can do nothing about it because detaining her was already illegal to begin with.
      • It's also noted that enforcing the Accords aren't under the DOS's jurisdiction either, only negotiating them and making sure they're legal under the provisions of the Constitution and any other U.S. laws. Ross actively seeking out the rogue Avengers falls squarely under enforcement; ultimately, it's one of the nails that leads to his forced resignation in the latter half of the story.
      • On top of being a human rights violation, The Raft is an outright illegal institution because it was built using State Department funds. Prison construction, obviously, is something that is also not under DOS jurisdiction. Once Congress becomes aware of its existence, Ross is immediately swamped with enough hearings to last for months.
  • Running Gag:
    • Steve refusing to have text message sex with Tony.
    • "That's an X problem, not a Y problem."
    • Tony's gay sex tape from the 90s. While the situation that led to it wasn't funny (a now-ex of Tony's taped it while he was still grieving for his recently-deceased parents), it has been a source of laughs since then, usually referenced when anyone in the present storyline tries to rag on Tony for "coming out". It's prevalent enough in popular culture that it was actually part of the study material for Steve's introduction to the modern world.
  • Shipper on Deck:
    • Happy ships Tony/Pepper, because he thinks Happy/Pepper isn't a viable option. Unfortunately for him, that ship was sunk a long time ago.
    • Peter briefly shipped his Aunt May with Tony until he learned Tony had a boyfriend, who he later realized was Steve.
    • Everyone else, despite some reservations, ship Steve/Tony. That one sails.
  • Shotgun Wedding: As per canon, Vision and Wanda continue their technically-illegal courtship, eventually culminating in Vision leaving the nest entirely to (probably) elope with her. Tony happily gives his approval.
  • There Are No Therapists: Averted. Both Tony and Steve end up getting therapists to work through their personal issues, and it is a major factor in maintaining their relationship as healthy.
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend: Genderflipped, homosexual variant. After someone tries to assassinate Tony during a charity event using his sunflower seed allergy, Clint has to knock Steve out to prevent him from jumping on the next flight to the States. Even then, he got a broken jaw for his troubles.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: See Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!. When writing his vent letter to Happy, it takes Tony several tries not to start the letter off with "Fuck you".
  • Wrong Name Outburst: Tony called out Steve's name during sex with Pepper once or twice. Needless to say, the relationship didn't last long after that.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: A variation. As it turns out, the Winter Soldier was actually the tenth attempt HYDRA made to kill Howard Stark, who they had been trying to assassinate since before Tony was born. One of said attempts even resulted in the death of Ana Jarvis, who bent over to serve Howard tea at exactly the wrong moment. Learning all this makes Tony realize that HYDRA was going to kill his parents no matter what happened, and making significant progress in finally forgiving Bucky for what happened, and, to a lesser extent, Steve, for not telling him.
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